Posts tagged ‘2007’

Tips: Ten Tips for a (Slightly) Less Awful [Programming] Resume

Objective: Obtain a position at IBM
— some idiot applying to

On Stevey’s Blog Rants (Random Whining and Stuff), author Steve Yegge ponders the question: “Why are the resumes of programmers so uniformly awful? And how do we fix them? The resumes, that is.”

Steve knows of what he speaks. Steve is the guy who ported Rails to JavaScript for Google. The hushed silence we non-programmers hear is due to the awe that our encoding brethren have for an accomplishment like this.

The guy is good. But he’s not perfect.

Or that really dumb guy who accidentally listed “work at IBM” as the objective on his Amazon resume. Ha, ha! What a dork!

Oh wait — that was me. D’oh. I sometimes refer to it as my “million dollar typo”. It’s kind of a painful story, especially for my eardrums, since whenever I tell it people predictably point at me and scream with hysterical girly laughter. Dammit.

(Mentioning the wrong company is one of the most common errors I see in resumes – I got one just yesterday. I think Steve would call that a #3.)

Steve has condensed his wisdom and experience into 10 tips that any programmer, firmware engineer, software engineer or web developer can take to heart:

Ten Tips for a (Slightly) Less Awful Resume

Tip #1: Nobody cares about you
Tip #2: Use Plain Text
Tip #3: Check, please
Tip #4: Avoid Weasel Words.
Tip #5: Avoid Wank Words
Tip #6: Don’t be a Certified Loser
Tip #7: Don’t say “expert” unless you really mean it
Tip #8: Don’t tip your hand
Tip #9: Don’t bore us to death
Tip #10: Don’t be a lying scumbag

Go check out the entire article. His advice is good for non-programmers too.



21 November 2007 at 3:17PM Leave a comment

NotJobs: a bright future in sales


One of the frustrating parts of the job search is the waiting. Your hot resume and painstakingly crafted cover letter fly off your computer into the ether, and then… nothing happens. Sometimes the wait happens after an interview.

The secret is: Neither side of the desk likes the wait.

Sometimes Mr. Candidate decides to take matters into his own hands and follow up. There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to follow up after an interview. Unfortunately, a significant number of good candidates blow up at this stage.

Over on the Passive-Aggressive Notes blog, sales candidate Steve delivers a perfect example of the Wrong Way. Prior to sending the e-mail, Steve was one of the top five candidates. Here’s a brief snippet of Steve’s message:


Thought I would hear from you this week. I guess no interest. Part of the deal is you make commitments and stick to them, particularly in the sales process.

You must see Steve’s entire ego-filled e-mail, as delivered by an anonymous submitter in Kansas City. Steve was one of the top five candidates before he sent his e-mail.

Droll commenter #38 raiseyourglass replies with the e-mail that many a recruiter or HR type would love to be able to send (but NEVER would):


Sorry we did not respond promptly. You know how slow human resources can be with the hiring practices and job offers. We were very excited about accepting you as our new sales associate. However in light of the recent e-mail you sent, we are only able to offer you the door.

P.S. We hear the post office is hiring. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Nothing against the Post Office, of course…

24 October 2007 at 5:39AM Leave a comment

The Start of the Great Boomer Workforce Exodus?

Last week, the first Boomer applied for Social Security. Aren’t these folks the ones who first branded themselves with the mantra, “Never Trust Anyone Over Thirty”? That great sucking sound you hear is billions of dollars leaving the Social Security Trust Fund.

America’s first “baby boomer” filed for Social Security benefits Monday, becoming among the first of nearly 80 million Americans born after World War II who are expected to apply for such benefits over the next two decades.

Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, 61, was born one second after midnight on Jan. 1, 1946. She becomes eligible for Social Security in two and a half months. On Monday, she completed filing electronically for the benefits before a horde of reporters and photographers at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.


In what’s being called America’s “silver tsunami,” 10,000 Americans a day will become eligible for Social Security benefits over the next 20 years.

This could be the start of the Great Boomer Workforce exodus. These same 10,000 Americans will be changing their work habits. We don’t yet know if these Boomers will have enough on hand to start retiring at 62.5 years, but some will.

This could lead to more part-time and intermittent workers as these Boomers start taking time off to smell the roses. On the other hand, some analysts suggest that the Boomers lack of strong money management skills will mean that many will be forced push off retirement until they’re in their 70’s. The upcoming labor shortage will also mean that some companies will provide incentives to keep their Boomers on the payroll.

Or, this could be the start of what The Onion named the “The Long-Awaited Baby Boomer Die-Off“.

Articles of note:

23 October 2007 at 4:55AM Leave a comment

NotJobs: Über on How Not to Get a Job at Apple

Over at Über, Adam Guttentag details his plot to network his way to a job at Apple Computer:

You know you’ve thought about it. You go out of your way to drive past the building on your way to work every day. For thirty minutes each morning, you feel like you work there as you wait in traffic with actual Apple employees before you head to your un-magical office park.

Most people take the conventional route of applying for an open position. This, however, does not work. Apple knows there are millions of crazed zealots around the world who dream of life in a Windows-free office (aside from their cubicles). So the company makes things more challenging. Apple only hires people who know Apple employees. So how do you meet an Apple employee? That’s the tricky part.

At first I tried hanging out at the Donut Wheel across the street.

Hilarity ensues. See the whole thing for the results.

As a recovering Macintosh fanatic (I once had charge of every Mac in the US Bureau of Mines) and former Apple junkie (I insisted that my bride and I drive by the Apple HQ in Cupertino on our honeymoon), I know where Adam is coming from.

At least he’s trying to “Think Different“!

21 October 2007 at 5:05PM Leave a comment

Supreme Court on Employment Law

Discrimination. Arbitration. Me-too legalism. Fiduciary Liability.

Just the things we all stay awake at night contemplating.

The Supreme Court session starts in October, and this year’s session brings some interesting cases. Michael P. Maslanka at has an interesting take on four cases on the docket that will possibly affect how we all work together:

Four Employment Cases on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Menu

August 9, 2007
What is the U.S. Supreme Court dining on from the employment law menu this coming term? It’s a four-course meal, and here is what the discerning diner needs to know.

Click the title above for more on these four cases:

  • Holowecki, et al. v. Federal Express Corp.
  • Hall Street Associates LLC v. Mattel Inc.
  • Mendelsohn v. Sprint/United Management Co.
  • LaRue v. DeWolff, Boberg & Associates Inc.

2 October 2007 at 11:32PM Leave a comment

Myths – Headhunters get jobs for candidates

Every few weeks I get a letter like this from a close or distant acquaintance:

I am not getting much traction in my job search. I’m wondering if it might be in my best interest to hook up with a good recruiter in the metro area who could help move things along. I’d be interested in your thoughts and if you have any recommendations.

The first time this happened to me, I was an IT Services headhunter, and the plea came from an attractive female thermal engineer. My “Rescue the Damsel in Distress” gene kicked in, and I burned some irretrievable hours trying to help. All I learned is that thermal engineering is a narrow discipline. Nobody would pay me for one.

Almost a year ago, Carl Chapman dealt with this topic in an excellent post that every job seeker should read: Recruiting Myths – Recruiters get jobs for candidates.

Today we deal with a long enduring misconception on the part of the job seeker, that recruiters are in business to get candidates jobs.


[Emphasis mine]

Carl’s article refers to 3rd party recruiters, a.k.a. headhunters, just like I was. Every candidate should read the whole article. The money ‘graph is this one:

What does this mean for the job seeker? Well, it means that you are no longer the client… you are now the product. The recruiter isn’t being paid by you, he is being paid by the company. The recruiter doesn’t earn money for finding you a job, he earns money for filling an open position with his client company. (boldface in original)

The other money quote isn’t in there, because Carl is too polite. It was Robert A. Heinlein who put this message in an acronym in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress“: TANSTAAFL (Milton Friedman said it too): There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

With that in mind, I’ll answer my friend’s question:

  1. Yes. It is in your interest to hook up with a 3rd party recruiter a.k.a. headhunter. For best results, work with one who knows your industry and specialty.
  2. You must realize that the headhunter won’t be working for you. S/he is working for the client. Set your expectations accordingly. Carl suggests remembering that “recruiters are working against your best interest, at times, because they are creating competition for you.”
  3. Sorry to say, I don’t know a headhunter that specializes in your field and industry. I’m sure they are out there, but I’ve not had a chance to use them. You might find one through your personal network.
  4. As Carl says, “This is a time when your mutual interests are perfectly aligned, so make sure to take advantage of that fact.” But don’t be the farm on the first call you make.

My snippets can’t do justice to Carl’s work. Check out the whole article.

28 August 2007 at 7:34AM Leave a comment

Tip: First Steps in your Colorado Job Search

This week, two people whom I have hired at previous employers have pinged me with a request for help in starting their job search. Both got caught in a layoff, and I don’t have a current requisition that matches their skills. Here’s the advice I’ve shared with them.

Sorry to hear about your change. I’m happy to do what I can to help. Here are a few suggested steps to accelerating your job search (you may have done some of these already). This isn’t meant to be an exclusive list, but a few ideas of things to do to get started:

  1. Update your resume.
  2. Start networking – let everyone know you’re looking. My last three jobs have come through networking. It does work.
  3. Create, amplify or build up your LinkedIn network <>.
    • Put your resume into your profile. List all the companies you’ve worked for (this makes is easier to find collegues). Make sure you have some keywords in your summary.
    • Use the Find Colleagues tool to locate people you know, and send out a customized invitation to them.
    • Change your profile address from numeric string to something more reachable like The first name+lastname style is standard.
    • Make sure your profile says you’re interested in new jobs.
    • Get recommendations! We recruiters look for those.
    • Make sure your e-mail address from your current company’s is in your preferences. Once you leave, you can’t add it.
  4. Sign up for a job aggregator like Indeed <>. An aggregator is a search engine for jobs. You can set up and save key word searches, and every night Indeed will e-mail you a list of openings that match. Indeed spiders HotJobs, Monster, CareerBuilder, Jobing and a bunch of other job boards. There are a bunch of other aggregators out there, but not all are good. I recommend avoiding Jobster (long story).
  5. Get on the jobs mailing list for the Rocky Mountain Internet Users Group <>.
  6. Check out your local user’s groups. Most disciplines have them – groups like CTRN, BAHRA, RMIUG, APICS, SWE, ASTD and BWA, among others.
  7. Take advantage of all the outplacement help that your employer is giving you. The average participation in these programs is usually around 50%.
  8. Stay current – read a few blogs to keep up. Industry blogs are good, as is that NotJobs blog. That guy’s Tips section is pretty good, if I do say so myself.
  9. Work. Be prepared to devote some serious time to your job search.

19 July 2007 at 6:36PM 2 comments

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My Core Ideas

1. "I can't tell you the best way to get a job - because there is no one best way. After 21 years of recruiting, I CAN share things I've seen candidates do to guarantee they DIDN'T get the job."

2. "Most companies don't realize how their recruiting process impacts their candidate pool, and their business. Attention to simple things will result in big improvements."

About the Author

Troy Bettinger, SPHR is a Denver Recruiter, Public Speaker, HR Metrics Analyst and Human Resources Leader who has been recruiting in corporate and municipal environments since 1991.

He specializes in the complete hiring process: defining, sourcing, recruiting, testing, interviewing, offering and orienting new hires. He's also well versed in strategic human resources, college recruiting, diversity recruiting, AAP, EEO, ATS integration, recruiting metrics, social media, recruiting leadership, training and employment branding.


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